Membrane Technology to Disrupt Natural Gas Separation Sector

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 3, 2016

FREMONT, CA: The industrial technologies currently in use for natural gas separation like Pressure Wing Adsorption and Cryogenic Distillation, requires a large amount of energy. On the other hand, Membrane technologies are robust, cost-effective and require less amount of energy than the conventional gas separation technologies. It has now emerged as a prominent technology that can be used for the processing of gas streams.

Currently, Membrane technologies for gas separation are in development phase and are yet to clear different critical challenges before its implementation at the bigger stage. Technology developers and research institutes primarily focus on developing cost-effective and efficient membrane technologies for gas separation that can replace the conventional gas separation technologies. If the presumed technology yields the expected results then it appears advantageous for gas separation process.

Research institutes working on technology development has already developed the polymeric membranes that can be implemented for the process of natural gas separation. Some of the inorganic membranes can be utilized as an alternative for polymeric membranes because inorganic ones are resistant to gas stream impurities and have high selectivity and permeability properties. In addition, researchers are primarily focused on building cost effective inorganic membranes. Mixed Matrix Membranes (MMMs) are the pragmatic alternative of membrane technologies. MMMs inherit the properties of both inorganic and organic materials due to its stability in challenging environments.

End-users require membrane materials that not only are cost effective but they also persists high flow rates. More research initiatives are being carried out on this process because of the challenges encountered in manufacturing low cost inorganic membranes. Membrane material are further expected to be performance-driven that can handle timely changing gas flow rates along with hybrid membranes having polymeric membranes as primary components. Membrane based on nanocomposite and nanoporous materials are expected to be a promising trend because of its properties of ultra high permeability and selectivity.